Australian Bravery Decorations March 2022

Australian Bravery Decorations March 2022

Congratulations to the Western Australians recognised in the 2022 Australian Bravery Decorations announced by the Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd).

Every year, these awards aim to recognise acts of courage of everyday Australians, putting others’ lives and safety above their own. Each will be invited to a formal ceremony in the coming months, where the Honourable Kim Beazley AC, Governor of Western Australia, will present them with their awards.

On behalf of the Governor-General, the Governor of Western Australia is pleased to announce the following award recipients:

Bravery Medal (BM)

Mr David Michael Farcich BM

Mr David Farcich displayed considerable bravery during the rescue of people from burning vehicles in Breton Bay, Western Australia on 27 August 2019.

At about 6.30pm, two cars collided on Indian Ocean Drive, trapping both drivers.  A fire started in one of the damaged vehicles. Mr David Farcich and other motorists stopped to render assistance.

Mr Farcich and another motorist went to the car which was on fire, and attempted to smash the driver’s window. A fire extinguisher was passed to him which he emptied on the flames to little effect. He was able to break a rear window, enter the vehicle, and open the door.  The vehicle’s interior was filled with pieces of wood.

A police officer, who had arrived on the scene, emptied another fire extinguisher on the flames, which continued to intensify.

Mr Farcich and another motorist began to remove the wood but were forced back due to the heat. He went back to the driver’s side and broke the window. The driver was pinned in his seat by other pieces of wood and was unconscious. The flames and heat forced Mr Farcich to withdraw.

He was then informed there was a driver inside the second vehicle which had just caught fire. A motorist had managed to open the driver’s door but the man inside was trapped with broken legs. Mr Farcich, with the aid of two police officers and two motorists, removed the driver from the vehicle.

Moments later a small explosion occurred and the second vehicle was fully engulfed in flames. Sadly, the driver of the first car perished at the scene.

 

Mr Alex OLIVER BM

Mr Alex Oliver displayed considerable bravery during the rescue of a surfer following a shark attack at Bunker Bay, Western Australia on 31 July 2020.

At about 1:30pm, Mr Alex Oliver and a number of others were surfing 100 metres offshore when one of them saw the dorsal fin of a 5 metre Great White shark close to one of the surfers.

The alert was raised and the majority of the surfers paddled towards the shore.

The shark lunged at the nearest surfer, biting into his surfboard and lower leg, causing significant injuries, and tipping the now bleeding surfer into the water. The shark circled and attacked again. The injured man was able to shove half of his broken surfboard into the shark’s open mouth. The shark continued to circle with the injured man fending it off.

Mr Oliver turned his board around and paddled to the injured surfer. On arriving at the scene the shark was laying on the sea bed directly in front of the injured surfer.  Mr Oliver got the attention of the injured surfer, slid back and pulled him onto the front of the board, then continued to paddle towards the shore.

Despite the close proximity of the shark, two other surfers made their way to Mr Oliver and assisted him to convey the injured man to shore.

The rescue helicopter arrived and took the injured man to Bunbury hospital where he was treated for his injuries.

 

Father Liam Ryan BM

Father Liam Ryan displayed considerable bravery during the rescue of a surfer following a shark attack at Bunker Bay, Western Australia on 31 July 2020.

At about 1:30pm, Father Liam Ryan and a number of others were surfing 100 metres offshore when one of them saw the dorsal fin of a 5 metre Great White shark close to one of the surfers.

The alert was raised and the majority of the surfers paddled towards the shore.

The shark lunged at the nearest surfer, biting into his surfboard and lower leg, causing significant injuries, and tipping the now bleeding surfer into the water. The shark circled and attacked again. The injured man was able to shove half of his broken surfboard into the shark’s open mouth. The shark continued to circle with the injured man fending it off.

One of the surfers turned his board around and paddled to the injured surfer.  Not knowing the exact whereabouts of the shark, he jumped into the water and pulled the injured man onto the front of his board. He then got back onto the board and paddled towards the shore.

Despite the close proximity of the shark, Father Ryan and another surfer made their way to the two men and helped to convey the injured man to shore.

The rescue helicopter arrived and took the injured man to Bunbury hospital where he was treated for his injuries.

 

Mr Tyler James White BM 

Mr Tyler White displayed considerable bravery during the rescue of a man from the Canning River in Perth, Western Australia on 25 January 2020.

At about 7:30pm, a man was escorted from a hotel in Applecross after becoming aggressive. Shortly afterwards, Mr Tyler White and other hotel patrons saw the man jump from the Canning Bridge into the river about 10 metres below.

Mr White jumped into the river to locate the man. He made several dive attempts before noticing him a distance away. He swam over and managed to grab hold of him before swimming him back to the bank of the river. On reaching the bank, the man became aggressive and fought to get back into the river.

Police at the scene assisted in subduing the man and he was treated by St John Ambulance and taken to hospital.

 

Mr Jess Woolhouse BM

Mr Jess Woolhouse displayed considerable bravery during the rescue of a surfer following a shark attack at Bunker Bay, Western Australia on 31 July 2020.

At about 1:30pm, Mr Jess Woolhouse and a number of others were surfing 100 metres offshore when one of them saw the dorsal fin of a 5 metre Great White shark close to one of the surfers.

The alert was raised and the majority of the surfers paddled towards the shore.

The shark lunged at the nearest surfer, biting into his surfboard and lower leg, causing significant injuries, and tipping the now bleeding surfer into the water. The shark circled and attacked again. The injured man was able to shove half of his broken surfboard into the shark’s open mouth. The shark continued to circle with the injured man fending it off.

One of the surfers turned his board around and paddled to the injured surfer. Not knowing the exact whereabouts of the shark, he jumped into the water and pulled the injured man onto the front of his board. He then got back onto the board and paddled towards the shore.

Despite the close proximity of the shark, Mr Woolhouse and another surfer made their way to the two men and helped to convey the injured man to shore.

The rescue helicopter arrived and took the injured man to Bunbury hospital where he was treated for his injuries.

 

Commendations for Brave Conduct

Mr Steven David Harwood

Mr Steven Harwood is commended for brave conduct for his actions during the rescue of an elderly woman from a house fire in Yangebup, Western Australia on 15 February 2018.

At about 5:25pm, Mr Steven Harwood and his neighbour became aware of a house fire across the road. Approaching the house, they saw flames coming through the front windows.

Mr Harwood’s neighbour began to douse the flames through the window, and then asked bystanders whether they knew if the elderly female resident of the property was inside, however no one knew for sure.

The neighbour gave the hose to a bystander and instructed them to continue hosing water through the window. He attempted to open the front door, however it was locked. He held open the fly-screen and instructed Mr Harwood to kick down the dead-bolted door, which opened after several attempts.

He and his neighbour peered under the thick low-lying smoke and located the elderly female resident lying on the ground approximately two metres inside.

They entered the house and dragged the unresponsive woman to the front door, where others helped to move her outside.

Firefighters arrived shortly after and the woman was transported to hospital.

 

Mr Shane Paul Wilkins

Mr Shane Wilkins is commended for brave conduct for his actions during the rescue of an elderly woman from a house fire in Yangebup, Western Australia on 15 February 2018.

At about 5:25pm, Mr Shane Wilkins and his neighbour became aware of a house fire across the road. Approaching the house, they saw flames coming through the front windows.

Mr Wilkins sourced an old hose and began to douse the flames through the window, He asked bystanders if they knew whether the elderly female resident of the property was inside, however no one knew for sure.

He gave the hose to a bystander and instructed them to continue hosing water through the window. He attempted to open the front door, however it was locked. He held open the
fly-screen and instructed his neighbour to kick down the dead-bolted door, which opened after several attempts.

Both men peered under the thick low-lying smoke and located the elderly female resident lying on the ground approximately two metres inside.

They entered the house and dragged the unresponsive woman to the front door, where others helped to move her outside.

Firefighters arrived shortly after and the woman was transported to hospital.

 

Group Bravery Citation

The recipients are recognised with the award of the Group Bravery Citation for their actions during the rescue of people from burning vehicles in Breton Bay, Western Australia on 27 August 2019.

  • Mr Paul Redmond Connoly
  • Senior Constable Reece Colin Easther, Western Australia Police
  • Mr David Michael Farcich
  • Senior Constable Bevan Troy Rankin, Western Australia Police

At about 6.30pm, two cars collided on Indian Ocean Drive, trapping both drivers. A fire started in one of the damaged vehicles.

Four passing motorists stopped to render assistance and were later joined by two police officers. An attempt was made to smash the driver’s window of the car on fire. A fire extinguisher was sourced and used on the flames with little effect. One motorist broke a rear window and discovered the interior was filled with pieces of wood. Together with a second motorist they began to remove the wood but were forced back due to the flames and heat. A police officer emptied a second fire extinguisher on the flames, which continued to intensify.

A second attempt smashed the driver’s window and an unconscious driver was located. A police officer emptied a second fire extinguisher, but the increasing intensity of the flames and heat forced everyone back.

By this time the second vehicle was on fire. One motorist spoke to the driver who indicated that he was trapped. Working together the motorists and police officers prised open the driver’s door, cut the man from his seatbelt, and dragged him out of the wreckage to a safe distance.

A short time later a small explosion occurred and the second vehicle was fully engulfed in flames. Sadly, the driver of the first car perished at the scene.

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